It’s 2016, and if you are a business owner, you already need to be thinking about 2017. What issues will that new year bring? It’s closer than you think. Yes, we’re only in Summer, but just you wait. Before you know, it will be time to pay the annual taxation costs for your business. Then, you’ll be thinking about how to attract new customers and what marketing push to try next. You’ll also need to think about the cost of keeping your company open. There’s going to be plenty of fun and games in 2017 and beyond for small business owners. The market is only getting more competitive, and new companies are opened every day. No matter what industry your business is in, you need to be prepared for future problems.
What problems are we talking about? Below, we’ll highlight some of the major issues you will have to deal with as a business owner. These are based on the state of the global economy now and forecasts for the future. Let’s get started by thinking about energy.
Soaring Costs Of Fuel
Business owners in the UK received a nasty shock from Brexit. Leaving the EU causes fuel prices to soar just in time for the public to head off on their holidays. They can’t say they weren’t warned either. UK business owners urged people to vote in and keep the economy stable. Due to the surprise turnout of the vote the global market was not prepared. It immediately sent the economy into a state of turmoil. Although it quickly recovered, there are new problems on the horizon.
When will fossil fuels run out? Experts believe that it could be 2050 before we start to see signs of shortages. You might find this presumption quite reassuring, particularly as a business owner. It’s certainly beneficial if your business is still reliant on fossil fuels such as oil and gas. However, news on the market suggests oil costs will continue to climb in 2016 and 2017. That’s bad news for the business owner. Check out what Monday Morning said about this possibility. You’ll soon discover the picture isn’t quite as rosy as that prediction makes it seem.
In fact, now is the perfect time to start thinking about how you can make your business more efficient. You might want to start by looking at your energy provider. There are a wealth of different energy providers on the market for you to choose from. It’s easy to make the switch to a new utility supplier, but first, you have to find the right one. Many energy companies allow businesses to get all their energy from a renewable source. An attractive possibility for SMEs that want to go green.
Home business owners and mompreneurs need to think about this as well. Don’t forget when you run a business from home; that’s your company property. You need to make it as eco-efficient as possible. Doing this, you can reduce overhead costs and run a company that is profitable.
You might also want to look into setting up your own sources of renewable energy. Whether you own a business building or work from home, solar panels are a possibility. With solar panels, you can massively reduce the cost of electricity for your business through the summer months.
Business diversity is only an issue if you’re not on board with the idea. If your business expands this year, you must make sure your staff are diverse. You should aim to hire people with different belief systems, genders, and cultures. Research has now shown that the most profitable businesses are diverse. Your company is forty-five percent more likely to perform if it has employees with a wide range of ethnicities.
As a mompreneur, you should know the benefit of having women in the workplace. They bring a fresh perspective on how to run and operate a company. Don’t make the mistake of just hiring male workers. Or, even using male outsourcing services. Remember, the outsourcing service that you use does reflect on your business. It will show through the service or product that you provide to your customers.
You may wonder why diversity is such a problem for businesses. We’re not talking about the feedback you receive if your business is not diverse. Nor are we referring to issues with your service. There is difficulty building diversity in your business. Indeed, many business owners cannot agree on how to build diversity. Though they see the advantages of doing so, it is a difficult subject. Particularly, when your company starts to grow on the market.
As a modern business owner, you should try to encourage people from different social groups to join your company. This will help your business grow and separate it from cookie-cutter companies on the market.
Reshaping The Business Model
If you are running an SME, you may still be operating from a business office. Is this the best decision? You might be better switching to a model that many mompreneurs are already using. You need to think about running your company from home. Or at the very least, making your company more flexible. This is an issue that many older businesses are going to face this year and leading into 2020. More businesses are going to switch to running the company from home. If you are left behind, you could be outpriced on the market. Running a business from home is significantly cheaper, compared with typically office costs.
Although, business owners will encounter issues making the switch. It involves a complete reassessment and restructure of the business model. Your clients might be used to the company operating from an office; You will need to persuade them you are still offering a brilliant service. Similarly, your employees will need to readjust, and you may not need as many workers on staff. It is not unusual for businesses to run from home to be one person, using outsourcing services.
Of course, the key to this business model is the tech. With new tech at your fingertips, you can run a company from home without issues. You can keep in touch with clients, through social media and online conferencing. New tech is the main reason why many business owners feel confident making this switch.
Then again, technology is certainly bringing fresh problems for small businesses. In particular, it brings the concern of security and whether or not a company is safe to use. Or rather, whether customers believe your business is safe. If you’re working online convincing them can be a challenge. Don’t forget you could type ‘babies clothing’ into Google right now and generate thousands of results. Most of these will be rubbish. Others will have poor quality security for handling or purchases, and the rest may be your competition. Your mission is to make sure customers see your business as a company they can trust.
Security must be your main focus in the future. A recent poll revealed that only thirty percent of customers trust contactless payment. For a tech that is being pushed as the safest form of transaction, this is surprising. It shows how wary consumers are of new tech. Particularly, when it involves the handling of their money. That’s why you need to build up business security from the foundations this year. Start by looking at your business site. Make sure that purchases are easy for customers and protected. You can do this by using a payment protection service, setup online. Anything such as offering Paypal payments would be worth looking into.
It only takes one customer complaint to damage the reputation of your business. One complaint or one fraudulent transaction sourced from your business, and you could be in trouble. Particularly in an age where bad reviews spread across the internet like wildfire. That brings us to the final issue you will face leading into 2017.
The market is competitive. This is good news for customers. Whenever they buy a product or service, they have countless possibilities. For the business owner, it just means more pressure to deliver. You need to make sure that you are providing the best customer service for your clients. Don’t make the mistake of thinking customer service doesn’t matter. As long as the good reviews outweigh the bad, you’re in the clear. You’re not. Every bad review could lead to you losing a customer. That customer might have recommended your business to other people. Positive reception spreads across social networks as well. Though this will only happen if they are pleased with your company.
These days, that usually means interaction. Customers will be happy as long as they can reach the company and receive updates on services. Keep them in the loop and you’ll earn their satisfaction. This could be as simple as regularly updating your Twitter profile. You must show that there are people like them behind your business. Customers want to feel like they are dealing with individuals rather than just one, big machine.